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Thais use wearables, biometrics more than other consumers in region

Nov 11. 2019
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By THE NATION

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Thai consumers are more aware of or use wearables and biometrics to make payments more than their counterparts in other Southeast Asian nations, digital payments company Visa said on Monday (November 11), referring to findings from the Consumer Payment Attitudes study.

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study 2018 was conducted by Intuit Research on behalf of Visa in 2018 across eight Southeast Asian countries – Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. The study was conducted on at least 4,000 consumers, including 500 working adults in Thailand aged 18-65, covering all education groups with a minimum income of Bt15,000.

The study tracks payment habits and attitudes as well as explores emerging topics related to payments in the eight Southeast Asian nations.

According to the study, 65 per cent of Thai consumers are aware of or currently use wearables to make payments, the highest percentage in the region. 

Singapore and Indonesia rank second at 60 per cent, followed by Malaysia and Vietnam at 52 per cent, and the Philippines at 44 per cent. 

In addition, Thai consumers have also recorded the highest level of awareness – 66 per cent – in Southeast Asia in using biometrics for payment and authentication. Vietnam and Singapore follow close behind with 60 and 55 per cent, respectively.

“We are heartened that Thai consumers recognise the benefits of innovations and how it contributes to making payments more secure, faster and more convenient,” Visa Thailand manager Suripong Tantiyanon said. “The findings can be attributed to how everyone in the payment ecosystems collaborate, make progress and transform the way consumers and businesses in Thailand make payments.”

Thai respondents also displayed the most comfort across the region in using wearables to make payments. More specifically, they include smartwatches (84 per cent versus the regional average of 71 per cent), wrist bands/bracelets (71 per cent vs 59 per cent) and smart rings (66 per cent vs 52 per cent). 

When asked about the most preferred wearable option, Thai respondents indicated smartwatches as their top choice (55 per cent), followed by wrist bands/bracelets (22 per cent), microchip implants (11 per cent), rings (8 per cent) and smart glasses (4 per cent).

At the same time, biometrics are becoming a more preferred method for consumers to authenticate themselves for access and payments, in place of a traditional password. For Thai consumers, 2 in 3 (66 per cent) are aware of biometric payments, the highest level in Southeast Asia.

When asked about the comfort level in using biometrics, Thais expressed the most comfort across three categories, including finger scanning (87 per cent vs the regional average of 78 per cent), retina scan (88 per cent vs 61 per cent), and facial recognition (80 per cent vs 65 per cent).

Further findings show Thai respondents most prefer finger scanning as their top option for biometric payments and authentication (56 per cent), followed by retina scan (26 per cent), facial recognition (12 per cent) and voice recognition (6 per cent).

“In Thailand, we have taken the lead in introducing innovative payment solutions, such as Visa QR payments, contactless technology and cross-border business solutions, while working with our clients and partners to expand the adoption of digital payments. While we are proud of the progress, we remain committed to leveraging our global network and payment innovations to contribute to Thailand’s transition towards a cashless future,” Suripong added.

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